Canada's Alberta mulls splitting energy regulator from promoter role

Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:36pm EDT
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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - The Canadian province of Alberta, the largest source of U.S. oil imports, is considering splitting its energy regulator to avoid a potential conflict with its role as promoter of the oil and gas industry, a spokeswoman for the premier said on Tuesday.

Notley's left-wing New Democratic Party, which last month ended 44 years of Conservative rule with a majority election victory, may pull apart the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) to separate its twin mandate to police energy developments while promoting the industry.

Notley, a long-standing critic of the regulator, is reviewing the regulator along with the dozens of other boards and commissions set up by her predecessors.

"We already committed to reviewing agencies, boards and commissions and the Alberta Energy Regulator falls within that," Cheryl Oates, the spokeswoman, said on Tuesday.

"The premier has ... in the past talked about the potential conflict within the mandate of the AER. So I don't think it's a surprise that that's the way she feels. But that doesn't mean there won't be a full review" of the AER's mandate.

Notley's comments were first reported by the Calgary Herald on Tuesday, citing a interview with the premier.

The regulator could not be immediately reached while the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the largest oil and gas lobby group, declined to comment until the details of any proposed changes are made public.

(Reporting by Scott Haggett; Editing by Richard Chang)